Tyson Foods has significantly expanded a recall of its chicken strips over concerns that some might be contaminated with pieces of metal, federal food safety officials said Friday.
The recall now affects more than 11.8 million pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strip products that were shipped nationwide, up from more than 69,000 pounds when the recall initially was issued in March, the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement.
The expansion comes after three of six people who complained about finding pieces of metal in certain Tyson products also said they suffered an injury in their mouth, the agency said.
The products now being recalled were produced from October through March 8, and they have "use by" dates of October 1, 2019, through March 7, 2020.
Each of the recalled products have establishment number "P-7221" on the back of the package.
Products under the recall include:
• Tyson fully cooked crispy chicken strips in 25-ounce and 40-ounce bags;
• Tyson fully cooked Buffalo-style chicken strips in 25-ounce and 40-ounce bags;
• Tyson fully cooked honey BBQ flavored chicken strips in 25-ounce bags;
• Best Choice Buffalo-style chicken strips in 20-ounce bags;
• Great Value fully cooked chicken strips in 25-ounce bags;
• Food Lion crispy chicken strips in 25-ounce bags.
In the previous recall, the products had only one use-by date: November 30, 2019.
Tyson Foods says it is taking corrective action
A Tyson Foods official said Friday that the company is taking corrective steps at the location where the products are made.
"Consumers expect that the food they eat is safe. In their best interest and in an abundance of caution we're taking quick and decisive action to expand this recall," said Barbara Masters, Tyson Foods' vice president of regulatory food policy, food and agriculture.
"We have discontinued use of the specific equipment believed to be associated with the metal fragments, and we will be installing metal-detecting X-ray machinery to replace the plant's existing metal-detection system. We will also be using a third-party video auditing system for metal-detection verification.
"Safety is at the core of everything we do. We're committed to producing safe, healthy food that our consumers and customers can rely on every day. It is unacceptable to Tyson Foods that any product might not meet our standards. Because of these additional consumer reports, we've decided to take this precautionary step to make sure that we're meeting our own expectations and the expectation of consumers."
The Food Safety and Inspection Service said it initially discovered the problem because of two consumer complaints about extraneous materials in chicken strip products.
But the agency said it "is now aware of six complaints during this time frame involving similar pieces of metal."
Three of the complainants alleged they had an oral injury, it said.
Consumers are urged to throw away or return products that might be affected and not to consume them.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the agency said in a news release. "These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Consumers with questions about the recall can call Tyson Foods at 866-886-8456.
In January, Tyson recalled 36,420 pounds of chicken nuggets after a consumer reported finding rubber in the chicken nuggets.
Also in January, Perdue issued a recall after receiving three complaints from consumers who reported finding wood in gluten-free chicken nuggets.